Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), formerly called the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP), is the general administrative cadre of the Government of Pakistan. It is the most prestigious Service within Pakistan’s bureaucracy and of the nearly three million public servants on the roll of the Government, there are only around 800 or so Officers who constitute the P.A.S. As a successor of the illustrious Imperial Civil Service (ICS) during the British Period, upon independence and partition of subcontinent in 1947, all ICS officers who opted for India became the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and those who opted for Pakistan became the PAS. The PAS was renamed as CSP in 1951, divided into two groups District Management Group (DMG) and Tribal Areas Group (TAG) in 1973, reunited as DMG in 1981, and finally reverted to its original name, PAS, again in 2011.
Just like the ICS was Crown’s own Service, the PAS is the Prime Minister of Pakistan’s own Service in so far as it is an All-Pakistan Service (the only other service that shares this honor is the Police Service of Pakistan- PSP) whose services can be required anywhere anytime at the Federal, provincial or district level, at the pleasure of the Government. This places PAS at a very unique pedestal vis a vis the other three million public servants who are either employees of the Federal Government or of any of the provincial governments alone. Thus, the vertical and horizontal mobility, and thereby exposure, of the PAS officers in the civil service is unparalleled.
Each year, a fresh batch of 35-40 young PAS officers is inducted through a highly transparent and fiercely competitive exam, called Central Superior Services (CSS) examination. Although, the exam is for recruitment of officers to all twelve Superior Services in Pakistan, but 97% aspirants vie for the PAS. Of the 24-26,000 bright candidates each year, only around 35 make it to the PAS by acquiring the highest grades in the four-stage CSS selection process that includes a written portion of 12 written papers, a set of psychological and intelligence tests, a highly- rated oral exam and rigorous medical fitness tests. As only the best and the brightest young Pakistani men and women make it to the PAS, they are further subjected to a two-year schedule of intense training at the Civil Services Academy and PAS Campus, in Lahore, Pakistan, that includes the study of public administration, civil law, criminal law, urban planning and rural development. There are also mandatory physical courses of horse-riding, swimming, rifle- shooting and various kinds of sports and extra curricular activities.
The PAS Officers are entitled to hold 100% positions of Chief Secretary in Pakistan as well as 65% of the posts of Additional Secretary, 35% of the posts of Joint Secretary in the Federal Ministries. In the provincial governments, they are entitled to 65% posts of provincial Secretaries, two thirds of the posts of Divisional Commissioners, half of the posts of Deputy Commissioners and one fifth of the posts of Assistant Commissioners. The PAS officers also hold judicial portfolios (four of them became the Chief Justices of Pakistan), foreign assignment including Ambassadors and Counselors, and heads of Public Sector Corporations. Many of the CSP’s have risen to the level of the President of Pakistan. The Pakistan Administrative Service Association (PASA) acts for the welfare of the PAS officers and runs this website, as well as the Facebook page, the Twitter account and the Yahoogroup mailserve of the PAS Association.